Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 8/19 at Baltimore

Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 8/19 at Baltimore

Jacoby Ellsbury, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jason Bay, LF
6. Sean Casey, 1B
Jason Varitek, C
Alex Cora, SS
Coco Crisp, CF

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP

Beckett Hurt, Next Start Moved Back

Josh Beckett's next start has been moved back because of numbness in his fingers and throwing arm. Here is what he told the ProJo moments ago:

"I have some numbness in fingers that I'm not used to having," he said. "As far as pain goes, there's not very much pain with it. We just have to figure out what it is because you don't want it to get so bad where it ends up being a really bad problem...."It's something I've been dealing with," Beckett said moments ago. "At some point and time we just have to figure out what the hell it is. Obviously, it's not what I want, but at this juncture (being pushed back) is something that needs to happen because there's something going on."

This is not the news the team needs right now but it does help explain his last outing.

The Eighth Inning

Lester cruises through seven, if the Red Sox can just get to Paps the game will be over. This scenario from last night's game has shown a key difference from last year's team. Last season if the starter could go seven innings and the Sox had the lead the game was an almost guaranteed victory; Oki would dazzle in the eighth and Papelbon would close the door in the ninth. Yesterday Delcarmen got the call in the eighth because Okajima was just plain awful on Sunday. Manny gave the Orioles base runners they needed to get back in the game and Papelbon had to come in at an irregular time for him and gave up a big double. Who is the go to guy in the eighth? It is getting to be late August and we still don't know. Okajima is not the same pitcher he was last year, Delcarmen, and Lopez are inconsistent and Timlin is showing his age. Tito usually has Aardsma go into the game in the early innings along with Masterson. Could Buchholz become an eighth inning guy? It seems unlikely because he has had problems with dealing with pressure this season. If the Red Sox want to repeat as World Champions they need a pitcher to step into the role of setup man and pitch well down the stretch. The Red Sox did not make the deal at the break for a reliever so they have faith that one of these guys can get it done. My question is which guy?

Yaz in Hospital

Carl Yastrzemski was admitted to Mass General hospital this morning after experiencing discomfort an chest pains. He will turn 69 on Friday.

UPDATE: Yaz is undergoing bypass surgery to clear a blocked artery.

With Wakefield out, it's time to give the kids a shot

Is it getting Dusty in here?

No, I'm not talking about pitchers.

Since 2003, the Red Sox have felt the need to assign their backup catcher to near-exclusive duty as Tim Wakefield's personal knuckleball valet. With the exception of Doug Mirabelli's crazy-good 2004, that has meant that the Red Sox (like most teams, to be totally fair) have found themselves carrying an offensively-deficient glove man.

Currently, that man is Kevin Cash, he of the career line of .179/.237/.279. But with Wakefield currently on the disabled list and Charlie Zink not looking like he'll make another start any time soon, Cash's main purpose on the roster - specifically the ability to successfully catch a knuckleball - is rendered moot. While the Sox likely would not want to lose Cash's services should Wake recover in time for a playoff start - assuming there are playoffs in the Sox' future, they could perhaps find some space on the roster (Cash could go down with a phantom injury perhaps?) to call up either George Kottaras or Dusty Brown from Pawtucket to give them an extended audition and see what they can produce at the Major League level.

One of the more interesting situations with the Red Sox these days is the future of the catching situation - Jason Varitek has not had a good year (on or off the field) and, at his age, the next few years don't look too bright either. Around the league, he's revered for his ability to handle a pitching staff, and so because of that, it's probably for the best if the Red Sox try to find a way to keep Varitek - an impending free agent - around next season. But surely not at the rate of his current contract, and, ideally, he wouldn't be starting four out of five games in 2009. An ideal situation would involve Varitek handling a reduced workload while also mentoring a young backstop - grooming his own replacement, essentially. Many assume that replacement would come from outside the organization, someone like Texas's Jarrod Saltalamacchia or the St. Louis' Bryan Anderson. But with Brown and Kottaras both hitting acceptably well in Pawtucket, why not see what they can provide first?

Lester and Bay Deliver

Lester and Bay Deliver

The Red Sox needed a good win today after the disaster yesterday and they got one thanks to Jon Lester and Jason Bay. Lester looked like the ace of the staff again going 7 innings and allowing just 4 hits and one run that came off of a home run by Aubry Huff. Jason Bay hat his first multi home run game with the Red Sox hitting taters in the second and the eighth, he had 3 hits on the night and drove in 4. Tek also had a home run in the game, his 9th in the season. The game tightened up in the eighth when Delcarmen walked back to back batters before getting the hook from Tito. Papelbon came in for a 4-out save but gave up a double to let the O's back in the game. The Red Sox added 2 more in the top of the ninth thanks to some bad fielding by Baltimore and Papelbon shut them down in the bottom of the inning for his 33rd save.

Sox Win 6-3

Red Sox Injury Update

Red Sox Injury Update

J.D. Drew: He is sitting tonight with the back issue but it is only precautionary, at the most he will miss the remainder of the series but I would suspect he will be back in the lineup tomorrow.

Julio Lugo: He has begun sprinting in the outfield and will start hitting in the cage today.

Mike Lowell: He has gone to his home in Miami to begin two workouts a day with his personal trainer because Fenway will not be available this weekend due to the Neil Diamond concert. He is still about 2 weeks away from returning.

Tim Wakefield: He has been playing catch without problems. The Red Sox are being cautious not to rush his return and have the same problem they had with him last season. If Buchholz struggles again on Wednesday they may have to rethink that plan. Wake could come back as early as next week.

Bartolo Colon: El Gordo has been on the slow road to recovery, he was supposed to throw extended innings this weekend but he had a stomach issue and had to come out of the game early. It must have been something he ate. (insert your own joke here) He will continue to bring up his pitch count with the PawSox and is still several weeks away.

Clay Needs A Reality Check

Clay Buchholz was happy with yesterday's outing, "It was definitely a confidence booster, my arm felt good, and it feels like I'm moving forward now instead of staying back where I was and, hopefully, there's good things to come." In his last 8 starts, Buchholz is 0-6 with an 8.61. Yesterday he gave up a walk, a hit, and a run in one inning of work. That would give Clay an ERA of 9.00 on the day and a WHIP of 2, neither of which is good. Clay has "turned the corner" so much he is spinning in circles. I am glad he will enter his start in Baltimore with confidence, but why do I feel like I have seen this movie before? It does not end well. Now is time for Clay to prove me wrong and throw a great game, we do not need any more hype for this kid, what we need is a win.

Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 8/18 in Baltimore

Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 8/18 in Baltimore

Jacoby Ellsbury, RF


Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jason Bay, LF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Sean Casey, 1B
Jason Varitek, C
Coco Crisp, CF

Jon Lester, SP